Week 19: workouts

This week was a lesson on the importance of staying hydrated – a lesson I would rather not have to face again.  Thankfully, nothing dramatic happened like passing out from heat exhaustion.  No, I just didn’t drink enough water during the week and it made my workouts more painful.  In fact, it made life in general more painful.

It all started last Sunday.  Adam had an early race, so we were on the road at 4:30am.  I had one water bottle, but after my five mile run that wasn’t enough.  I’m generally bad about drinking enough water, but it’s worse when I’m on the road or without my usual schedule.  By Monday morning I had the vague feeling I was dehydrated, but it wasn’t strong enough to really sink into my mind.

On Monday I had my usual 12 oz of decaf coffee at work which made the situation worse.  By the end of the day I felt horrendous – headache, stomach ache, dizziness.  I could barely focus enough to work.  I didn’t know what was wrong and I don’t remember feeling dehydrated, but looking back on it, I know I was.

I attempted a 5k on Tuesday morning, but after 1.8 miles of slow, downhill running my heart rate was pushing 180 (high end for me), my chest was tight, and I had a ton of phlegm in my throat.  I was exhausted and had to catch my breath.  I walked for almost half a mile before trudging my way home at a very slow jog.  I vowed to drink more water so I wouldn’t feel this way again.  I followed through with that on Tuesday and I skipped my usual coffee.

For my Wednesday morning workout, I spent 20 minutes on the recumbent bike with low resistance and high speed (90+ rpm).  My calves felt strained so I did a good bit of stretching after the bike.  I hadn’t run more than usual lately, so I’d be willing to bet that the strained feeling was due to dehydration.  After stretching, I went to the weight room and did three sets of twenty reps for each of the following muscles: back, chest, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.  As usual, I finished up with a short ab workout.  I felt good.  Unfortunately I didn’t learn my lesson and didn’t drink enough water during the day at work.  I went back to the coffee and by the end of the day I was dehydrated again.

Thursday was a day at the track with Adam.  I warmed up with a 3/4 mile jog and drills, then prepared myself for 4x1000m and 4x200m.  I wasn’t feeling great – I almost never look forward to starting intervals – but this felt a little worse than usual.  I just focus on negative splitting (so I don’t have to push super hard on the first interval).  My rest between intervals was 2:00 for the 1000m and 1:15 for the 200m:

  • 4:55  (7:55 min/mile pace)
  • 4:59  (8:01 min/mile pace)
  • 4:54  (7:53 min/mile pace)
  • 4:51  (7:48 min/mile pace)
  • 0:46  (6:10 min/mile pace)
  • 0:47  (6:18 min/mile pace)
  • 0:47  (6:18 min/mile pace)
  • 0:46  (6:10 min/mile pace)

Thursday at work I drank my usual coffee which naturally displaces the water I would be drinking.  When will I learn?

Friday morning was the same as Wednesday, with even more stretching after the bike.  At work it was more coffee and by the end of the day I felt terrible again.  I had a headache and no appetite.  This time I knew it was dehydration so I skipped the alcohol and drank four glasses of water at dinner.

Saturday was another day off, but I was still feeling the effects.  I couldn’t stomach dinner until I downed six glasses of water.

Sunday was my long run, so it was back down to the harbour for another eight miles in 1:23:00 with tons of wind.  With two miles to go I was really feeling the need for water.  I also realized how grumpy I can get when I’m running.  I love being a runner, but I don’t always love running – at least, while I’m doing it.  (A big thanks to Adam for his patience, by the way.)

I’m finally beginning to recognize how coffee (which I love) is becoming a detriment to my training and my life in general.  We’ll see if I can finally say goodbye…